Citizen, Volunteer Soldier, Lawyer, Judge, Orator
— Governor of Illinois —
Born December 30, 1847
Died March 12, 1902
These Tablets Containing
Selections from his
are dedicated by
The John P. Altgeld
"I have given Illinois four of my best years, and have brought all my offerings to her altar. Had it been necessary, I should have considered life itself a small sacrifice in her interest."
"If the defendants had a fair trial, there ought to be no interference; for no punishment under our laws could then be too severe. But they did not have a fair trial. The evidence utterly fails to connect the unknown who threw the bomb with the defendants; and I am convinced that it is my duty to act."
Pardon of Chicago 'Anarchists' 1893.
"Under the law as you assume it to be, a President, through any of his appointees, can apply to himself to have the military sent into any city, and base his application on such representations as he sees fit. This assumption is new, and I submit that it is not the law of the land. The jurists tell us this is a Government of law, and not a Government by caprice of any individual."
Message to President Cleveland 1894.
"I am not discouraged. Things will right themselves. The pendulum swings one way, and then another, but the steady pull of gravitation is toward the center of the earth. Any structure must be plumb if it is to endure. So it is with Nations; Wrong may seem to triumph, Right may seem to be defeated, but the gravitation of Eternal Justice is toward the throne of God. Any political institution which is to endure must be plumb with that line of Justice."
"The doctrine that 'might makes right' has covered the earth with misery. While it crushes the weak, it also destroys the strong. Every deception, every cruelty, every wrong, reaches back sooner or later and crushes its author. Justice is moral health, bringing happiness; wrong is moral disease, bringing moral death."
"Compromisers, traders and neutral men never correct abuses, never found or save free institutions, and never fight for human rights."
"Republican Institutions and Government by Injunction cannot both exist in the same country. They are opposite in character, and one or the other must die."